Did Cong Stop IUML Flags at Wayanad Rally? Both Say ‘False Report’
The report was published by Organiser, an RSS publication. Both IUML and Congress say there was no such directive.
Even as Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers from Wayanad, a report in the RSS publication Organiser.org claimed that the Indian Union Muslim League had been asked by the Congress not to wave its green flags at the rally as it could "backfire in North India." The IUML is the second-largest party in the UDF alliance in Kerala, which is supporting Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad.
Titled ““Don’t use Muslim League flags in Rahul’s rallies in Wayanad” Congress presses panic button as alliance with the Muslim communal party in Kerala can damage its prospects in ‘North India’”, the report quotes a WhatsApp chat purportedly between Congress volunteers and IUML workers.
The group chat, titled "UDF Wayanad Mandalam" shows an exchange between a Congress worker who supposedly advises IUML workers against waving their party flags at the rally.
According to the Organiser report, the chat read, "Muslim League friends are our dear ones. Rahul Gandhi will be coming to Wayanad soon. There is no doubt that the green flag (Muslim League’s official flag) is our pride. But in ‘North India’, this flag will be understood in another way. So I request our Muslim League workers to stay away from the rally, even if you come, then please don’t carry your flags."
The report and the chat have been shared widely by many on social media, including BJP It Cell chief Amit Malviya, hitting out at the Congress for this supposed directive.
Right-leaning publication OpIndia too carried an article on the advisory, crediting the Organiser report.
“Reports Are False, No Such Directive”
Speaking to The Quint, TM Salim, secretary of the IUML, rubbished these reports as fake.
“These reports are all false, there has been no such advisory from the Congress. In fact, if you switch to any of the local news channels, you will see that there are more IUML flags than Congress flags here at Wayanad.”
A live video of the roadshow streamed by the Congress on its official Youtube channel did show plenty of IUML flags being raised at the rally.
Meanwhile, a youth leader with the Muslim League told The Quint that there was no WhatsApp group called ‘UDF Wayanad Mandalam.’
“While we have smaller region-specific WhatsApp groups, we are yet to form a group dedicated to the Wayanad parliamentary constituency,” he said.
Echoing his statement, Congress MLA and current president of Wayanad Congress IC Balakrishnan too told The Quint there was no official WhatsApp group for Wayanad as yet. “There is neither an official WhatsApp group, nor was any such message sent by a Congress member. Who even are these people named in this chat? We have no problem with IUML flags, this fake screenshot is being spread with malicious intent,” Balakrishnan said.
Meanwhile, Prafulla Kelkar, editor at Organiser, said his organisation stood by their source, who had sent them the screenshot of the WhatsApp chat.
Video of Wayanad Rally With IUML Flags Shared as ‘Islamic Flags’
Meanwhile, a video of the same Rahul and Priyanka rally in Wayanad showing IUML flags has gone viral on social media as supporters waving ‘Islamic flags’ at the rally.
IUML Flags Earlier Viral As Pak Flags In Wayanad
Earlier, a video showing several youth carrying green flags with a white crescent and a star along with Rahul Gandhi's cutout was viral on social media. The video is being shared along with the claim "Look who is celebrating in Wayanad waving Pakistan flags. Now you know why Congress selected this constituency. ☝"
The video also carries the logo of News18 Kerala, indicating it’s a clip from one of the bulletins on the channel.
The video has been widely shared online since at least 25 March.
However, the flags raised in the video were not Pakistan flags, but the flag of the IUML. While the IUML flag has only a crescent and star against a green background, the Pakistan flag also has a white strip along the left corner.
(With inputs from Adila Matra.)
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